Concerns voiced regarding privacy and security in the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre’s universal changing rooms – along with more reports of “inappropriate behaviour” – have prompted work to expand partitions separating some of the stalls, city officials confirmed this week.
Stacey Rennie, the city’s manager of community and recreation services for South Surrey, told Peace Arch News work on four of the 22 stalls was to get underway Tuesday.
“It’ll go closer to the ceiling and closer to the ground, so there’s less opportunity for anything (untoward),” Rennie said.
“We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable… ensure people have an improved sense of privacy in those areas.”
Concerns with privacy at the new facility first came to light in June, after a patron reported that someone had used a cellphone to film her in the shower. The incident resulted in a ban of a 30-year-old man from city facilities, but no criminal charges.
A city-led review at that time found that modifications to the area were not needed.
Rennie confirmed Monday that there have been further concerns reported – including an incident early last month that led to a second individual being banned from city facilities.
“All I can say is it was inappropriate use of space,” she said.
She reiterated that while the design “always exceeded” building code and health requirements, it was given another look during the Aug. 29 to Oct. 8 maintenance shutdown.
“With the information that we have now, we think these added measures will increase people’s sense of privacy and security.”
Rennie described inappropriate incidents as rare, impossible to prevent and not confined to universal changing rooms.
“Regionally, these incidents occur in aquatic facilities. They are rare, but they occur. Not all of them may be made public.”
Noting most patrons are “really happy” with the Grandview facility – which opened last spring – she said this week’s work is hoped to take only “a few days” and will be done during opening hours.